Conscious consumerism is a term used to describe the act of being mindful and aware of the impact of one’s purchasing decisions on both personal and societal levels.
This can encompass a variety of considerations such as environmental sustainability, fair labor practices, and supporting marginalized communities.
One aspect of conscious consumerism that we are particularly passionate about is the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses.
Supporting Black-owned businesses not only has the potential to provide economic empowerment to the Black community, but it can also help to combat systemic racism and promote social justice.
The history of systemic racism and discrimination in the United States has disproportionately impacted Black entrepreneurs and limited their access to capital, customers, and other resources. As a result, Black-owned businesses have consistently underperformed compared to their non-Black counterparts.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the gap in revenue between Black-owned and non-Black-owned businesses was around 23% in 2017. This gap persists even after controlling for factors such as business size, industry, and location. By choosing to support Black-owned businesses, consumers can directly contribute to closing this gap and supporting economic equality.
In addition to economic empowerment, supporting Black-owned businesses can also help to address issues of representation and visibility. Many Black business owners have faced challenges in getting their products and services recognized and promoted in the mainstream market. By choosing to support Black-owned businesses, consumers can help to amplify the voices and visibility of these entrepreneurs and bring attention to their products and services.
There are several ways that consumers can actively support Black-owned businesses, both online and in their local communities. One of the most impactful ways is by simply choosing to spend money at these businesses instead of at large, mainstream corporations. This can be as simple as purchasing food items at a Black-owned farmers market instead of a chain store or choosing to eat at a Black-owned restaurant instead of a national chain.
Consumers can also look for resources and directories that highlight Black-owned businesses in their area. Many cities and organizations have created lists or directories of Black-owned businesses that can serve as a helpful starting point for finding businesses to support. Online platforms like ours also offer many options for searching for and purchasing products.
In addition to spending money at Black-owned businesses, consumers can also support these businesses by sharing them with their friends, family, and social media followers. Word-of-mouth marketing can be incredibly powerful, and a simple social media post or recommendation can go a long way in helping a Black-owned business gain visibility and attract new customers.
Finally, consumers can also support Black-owned businesses by advocating for policies and initiatives that benefit these businesses. This can include supporting legislation that provides access to capital and resources for Black-owned businesses or advocating for the inclusion of Black-owned businesses in government contracts and procurement processes.
It is important to recognize that supporting Black-owned businesses is just one aspect of combating systemic racism and promoting social justice. Consumers can also take other actions such as participating in protests and advocacy efforts, supporting organizations that work towards racial equality, and engaging in self-education about issues of race and racism.
However, supporting Black-owned businesses is a tangible and impactful way for consumers to make a difference and contribute to positive change. By choosing to spend their money at these businesses and promoting them to others, consumers can play a role in fostering economic empowerment and promoting representation and visibility for Black entrepreneurs.
In an increasingly interconnected and globalized world, the actions of individual consumers can have a ripple effect and contribute to creating a more equitable and just society.